The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBRENO
This is an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("§ 1983") growing out of a domestic dispute. Plaintiff claims he was unlawfully arrested by three West Whiteland Township police officers whom he had summoned to his residence during the course of an argument with his wife. Specifically, plaintiff alleges that defendants violated: his right to security of person and freedom from arrest except upon probable cause guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment; his right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments; and his Sixth Amendment rights.
Further, plaintiff makes state law claims in tort for malicious prosecution and false arrest. Defendants assert in response that plaintiff's arrest was based upon probable cause and thus was legally justified. Before the Court is defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below the motion will be granted.
The historical facts set forth below are based on the undisputed facts on the record and the testimony given by plaintiff Mark A. Cronin, and his wife, Jody Cronin, at their respective depositions.
See, e.g., Sharrar v. Felsing, 128 F.3d 810, 814 (3d Cir. 1997).
According to plaintiff, on July 20, 1996, at approximately 12:00 p.m., he placed a "911" call, telling the "911" operator that he and his wife were having a fight and that his wife was "going crazy on [him]." M. Cronin Dep. at 41. Plaintiff also testified that while on the telephone with the "911" operator, he took a steak knife out of a kitchen drawer and said to the operator that he was "going to hurt [himself] or something like that." M. Cronin Dep. at 42. Plaintiff further testified that, during the course of the "911" call, Jody Cronin took the telephone from plaintiff and "may have mentioned to the 911 operator that she was cut or hurt or something like that." M. Cronin Dep. at 41-42.
The police arrived at the Cronin residence approximately ten minutes after the "911" call. When the police first saw plaintiff he was bleeding from a scratch on his arm. M. Cronin Dep. 44-45. Immediately after arriving at the scene, Officer Herkner spoke with plaintiff on the front steps to the house, while Officer Krisch went inside to speak with Jody Cronin in the kitchen. M. Cronin Dep. at 20-21. The kitchen was in a state of disarray (according to Officer Krisch, "Things were thrown around on the floor, on the kitchen table, on the counter tops."). Krisch Dep. at 26.
At her deposition, Jody Cronin summarized the events leading up to the "911" call and described the call itself:
I came home from a store; and I was at this store getting a certain tape that I purchased. And before I went there I didn't have money, as usual. I tried to call my husband to get some money. And he talked to me and he refused to come home or have me drop by and get some money to go out and get some groceries and a few things plus the tape I wanted to get.
So I had gotten him a book, I guess a week -- the week before that, or something. And I just started to devise this thing that I wanted to go out and take this book back so I could get some money just for that day and I would get him the book later.
So I did that and I came back and I told him when I got home. He didn't like that, so we started arguing. And we took the tape, that tape that I had, we were like Tug-of-Waring [sic] with it, back and forth, and it dropped down; he dropped it down and smashed it. And then, as far as I'm concerned, I picked it up and the tape just like must have brushed against me or something. And the reason I know that is because a couple days later this piece came out of my hand; so that's basically what happened.
And then he called -- he had a knife and he started trying to cut himself. And he said that he was going to have me -- he was going to say that I did it. And he was really like going wild with a knife. He didn't necessarily come at me, but he was going around the kitchen with it.
So then he called the police; he called 911 and started saying that I did this, I started coming at him with stuff and I was doing everything. So I got on the phone and I said. I need someone to come over and check my hand, it's bleeding like crazy; would someone just get here now because it really ...